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SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) – Container/Cargo weighing

Friday 11 December 2015

Verified Gross Mass (VGM) – Container/Cargo weighing

 VGM will become mandatory from July 1st, 2016 and there are still many questions to be answered on how it will really affect the industry.

The below comes from a collaboration between TT Club, World Shipping Council, ICHCA and the Global Shippers Forum.

TT Club has been closely involved in the industry debate concerning the correct declaration of the weight of packed containers. It is a matter that has contributed to a number of incidents on land and on board ships

The issue of weight discrepancies was highlighted in the UK MAIB report into the grounding of ‘MSC Napoli’, where it was described as one that is able to ‘erode or eliminate the safety margins in place’. The theme was taken up in the MARIN ‘Lashing@Sea’ report that was presented to the relevant IMO safety committee in 2010, leading to a work item to identify ways to prevent losses of container at sea.

Revised SOLAS regulation to require ‘verified gross mass’ of packed containers
In November 2014, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to SOLAS to require that shippers obtain the ‘verified gross mass’ (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carrier sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. Ocean carriers are obliged to use the VGM in the stow plan and, together with the terminal operator, ensure that any container that does not have a VGM is not loaded on a ship. In effect, this is already in a transitional phase; the revised regulation becomes mandatory on 1 July 2016.

 Please find below some FAQs relevant to the subject.  As the document states, the list is meant to be dynamic and we expect that it will be updated between now and date of implementation as well as beyond.

 At Stellar Logistics we are also investigating how this will affect exporters in Ghana and will also be posting updates as soon as possible.  In the meantime please ask your local contacts any other questions you might have or email them to